Issue 151 » January 4, 2002 -
Surah al-Maidah (The Table)
Chapter 5: Verses 100
"(O Prophet Muhammad) say to them: 'The evil (khabeeth) and the good (tayyib) are not equal, even though the abundance of the evil things might make you pleased with them. (So) beware of disobeying Allah, O people of understanding, so that you may attain success."
This verse outlines for us a standard of evaluation quite distinct from the standards used by the superficial people of our world today. For such people, for instance, a hundred dollars are worth more than five dollars, since a hundred is more than a five. But, according to this verse, if those hundred dollars have been earned through corrupt means, entailing the disobedience of God (such as by stealing, usurping the wealth of orphans or the weak, selling Haram or forbidden things, or through Riba or interest), the entire amount becomes unclean.
On the other hand, if a person earns five dollars while obeying God, then this amount is clean and honourable; and anything which is unclean, whatever its quantity, cannot be worth more than that which is clean. A drop of perfume is more valuable than a heap of filth; a just ruler is more worthy of obedience and allegiance than a thousand evil, corrupt, and tyrannical leaders of the nations; a young boy or girl who spends his or her youth remembering Allah, helping others physically and spiritually, studying hard, calling others for the establishment of good, peace, and justice in the world, and helping others stay away from evil, is far more productive and dignified than hundreds of superficial youth surrounded by and subservient to their own desires, devoid of any higher purpose in life, driven by the latest fad and fashion, and who are consumers of whatever the media wants them to know, see, and buy! Surely they can't be equal!
Yusuf Ali (rahimahullah) writes: "People often judge by quantity rather than quality. They are dazzled by numbers: their hearts are captured by what they see everywhere around them. But the people of understanding and depth judge by a different standard. They know that good and bad things are not to be lumped together, and carefully choose the best, which may be scarcest, and avoid the bad, though evil may meet them at every step," such as through ads, media, peer pressure, cultural practices, etc.
It is interesting to note the following incidence, related by Imam al-Shafi'ee (rahimahullah), in this connection: When 'Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (a renowned righteous and just Caliph from Umayyad dynasty) cancelled all the tyrannous taxes and returned the wealth and property that had been misappropriated by the rulers before him, one of his governors wrote to him and complained that by annulling taxes and returning the wealth to their owners, 'Umar had emptied the state treasury. Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz (rahimahullah) wrote back to him this verse: "The evil and the good are not equal, even though the abundance of the evil things might make you pleased with them."
[compiled from "Tafseer Ishraq Al-Ma'ani" by Syed Iqbal Zaheer, and "Towards Understanding the Quran" by Abul A'la Mawdudi]
UNDERSTANDING OUR TEENS
This series seeks to analyze some of the negative aspects of the 'teen culture', which go against our Islamic values and traditions. Every Muslim parent and teacher needs to recognize that not actively participating in your teen's lifestyle is not an option.
[Physical Indulgence and Pursuing Fashion]
This is one of the major problems teens face today and are bombarded with from every angle. An enormous emphasis is placed on physical and sexual indulgence. To not have a boyfriend or girlfriend is seen as extremely unusual. If a teen is able to avoid that, it is still virtually impossible to avoid conversations about the opposite gender and the topic of dating in general. Comedy, movies, music, newspapers, books, TV shows: all of these are constantly discussing the issue of sexual activity, promoting it, or even showing it 'as it happens' (whether realistic or unrealistic).
Another huge challenge to overcome is fashion. In the West, fashion is practically a religion, and especially for girls it becomes very difficult to dress differently and adopt Hijab for example. Aside from discrimination, many girls are also singled out on account of not wearing the right kind of jeans, or not wearing one at all. The fashion usually contributes to physical indulgence, with most of the clothes being tight and revealing. This problem causes many girls to feel insecure and many others to become slaves to fashion as well.
As Norman Solomon, while commenting on the début of a highly sexualized magazine Teen People few years ago, says: "It's colourful. Stylish. And disturbing. American girls routinely experience a sharp drop in self-esteem as they become teenagers. Appearance and social approval are apt to loom large. Fitting in - with a fashionable wardrobe and slim waist - can seem to be imperative. Sadly, the emergence of this new magazine is liable to make things worse. Instead of opening the world for adolescent readers, Teen People narrows it. Glossy pages equate excitement with glamorous stars of the entertainment industry. Joys are vicarious... Unfortunately, media images that glorify thin as beautiful - sometimes to the point of emaciation - are well represented in the pages of Teen People. It can be all too easy for some girls to get sucked into the warped social scene of competitive dieting or the greater extreme of group bingeing and purging."
It is interesting to note a saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him): "Verily, Allah does not look at your bodies or looks, but He scans your hearts and actions." [Related by Al-Bukhari & Muslim] That is why, as Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick says, "When you are walking down the street wearing your Hijab as a sister, or with your beard and cap on as a brother, you are giving people a message: Don't judge me by body, deal with my mind. I am worth more than what you see or think."
[compiled from "Teen People and the Souls of the Young Folks" by Norman Solomon and "Muslim Teens: Today's Worry, Tomorrow's Hope" by Dr. Ekram & Mohamed R. Beshir, pp 15]
22 SYMPTOMS OF WEAK FAITH
Series continued from YMFN Issue #150
Following are some of the signs and symptoms of weak faith that one can use to assess whether he or she suffers from spiritual death or disease:
20) Going to extremes in the way one cares for oneself, in food, drink, clothing, housing and means of transportation. So you see people showing excessive interest in luxuries, trying to be sophisticated, buying only the finest clothes of latest fashion or fad, spending extravagant amounts on their choice of housing and spending too much time and money on such unnecessary adornments whilst their Muslim brothers are in the greatest need of that money.
This carries on until they sink into the soft life of luxury which is forbidden, as is reported in the Hadith of Mu’aadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him): when the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent him to Yemen, he advised him: "Beware of luxury, for the servants of Allah do not live a life of luxury." [Reported by Abu Na’eem in al-Hilyah]
21) Not feeling any responsibility to work for Islam and spread this religion (Dawah), which is unlike the attitude of the Companions of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), who as soon as they entered this religion felt this responsibility right away. For example, al-Tufayl ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him), who became Muslim and went to call his people to Islam right away. He was only a new Muslim but he felt that he had to go back and call his people to Islam, and he went and did it. Yet nowadays many people wait for a long time after they become committed to Islam before they reach the stage of calling others to Allah.
... last issue to follow...
[from "Weakness of Faith: Causes and Cures"
by Shaykh Salih al-Munajjid]
QUOTES TO PONDER UPON
"Time is our most precious commodity. Nothing we covet and desire in life can be obtained except by spending time, and spending it properly, in its pursuit. We maybe spending our time to seek pleasure, to earn money and worldly possessions, to work, to enjoy, or we may simply idle it away - doing nothing.
Time is the first thing that Allah demands of us. It takes time to fight in the way of Allah. It takes time to pray. It takes time to do Da'wah. It takes time to read the Qur'an. It takes time to visit the sick. Every moment should be spent in seeking His pleasure, in fulfilling our commitment to Him. But, if you reflect more deeply, you will realise that what you are really required to sacrifice is not your time. It is the things in whose pursuit your time is being spent, things which may be contradictory to your goals in life, meaningless, unimportant or less important compared to Allah's cause. Therefore to give your time for Islam, before anything else, you must be ready to sacrifice many other things which claim your time.
How can you bring yourself to sacrifice these things and devote your time to Allah?
Remember that time is one thing you cannot hold on to even for a moment. It must continuously slip away from you, in whatever way you choose to spend it. Its value to you is simply what you gain from it. Time will melt away, what you earn will stay!"
[Ustadh Khurram Murad in "Sacrifice: The Making of a Muslim"]